10-01-2008, 05:52 PM
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Yes, lesson horses typically need a stronger leg or perhaps a crop too. They have a variety of riders and so have no chance to get used to subtle and specific cues, and often they are with bad or inexperienced riders. You need to be extra clear with what you're asking of them. Also remember that they get a lot of use each day so towards the end they will be less forward and willing.
The lesson horses at my stables back home are amazing, every single one of them. And something I have really found is that you can get a totally different response out of an old plodder once you know more about how to ride them. Jazz was the first horse I rode: we went round in walk and trot, she was an angel at managing this girl who had no idea what she was doing. She's used a lot with total beginners because she's such a sweetie with them. I rode her more recently and from the moment I got on I let her know that a) we would be working today and that b) I was going to ask her to do more than just trot around the arena while someone bumped on her back. We had a great ride. The lesson horses are all capable of more than plodding round; you just need to make it clear that you're asking them to put their best foot forward with you.
What I find is that it's important right from the start to wake the horse up, make them understand that they must work and make sure they're attentive and listening to you. Transitions are great for that.